The Garden, released on September 17, 2013, is the newest album from The Shondes, an indie rock/punk band from Brooklyn, NY, and, another fine addition to their excellent discography. I saw this album on eMusic‘s new releases, and, downloaded it without thinking twice. I was not disappointed. The Garden is definitely my favorite album of the week!
The Shondes mix indie rock and punk with Jewish influences and riot grrrl feminism, and their music has been featured on Tucky Williams‘ excellent lesbian web series Girl/Girl Scene, which is where I first heard them. The Shondes have two very distinctive features that separate them from other similar indie rock bands. First, there’s violinist Elijah Oberman. His skill with a very un-punk instrument adds a whole lot of character to this band’s distinctive sound. But, then, there’s singer/bassist Louisa Solomon. She has a cool off-kilter vocal style, similar to Corin Tucker in her best Sleater-Kinney days. I just love the way this woman sings!
Now, as much as I love The Shondes, The Garden‘s awesomeness, for me, was very subtle, initially. It kind of snuck up on me, unlike Searchlights (2011), their previous release, which pounced on me and demanded my attention on first listen. Maybe Searchlights was more immediate because The Shondes‘ unique sound was new to me then. I liked The Garden, of course, after the first listen, but, I, inevitably, compared it to Searchlights, whose tracks had played like hits in my head for months. However, after the second listen, I absolutely loved The Garden, and, now, those songs are becoming hits in my head, too. “Nights Like These”, the excellent first single, is, like the album, brimming with optimism: “I’m not waiting, I’m going big / ‘Cause I can imagine much better than this.” And, in “Nothing More Whole Than a Broken Heart”, which I’m sure will follow as the second single, Louisa sings: “But we’ve still got something left to give / To live for, let’s try to love again.” But, currently, the #1 song, on my chart, is “Follow The Storm”, which, like “Bright Again” on Searchlights, is the only ballad. This song is nothing short of amazing – my favorite song of the week! Other good tracks that will inevitably climb my charts are “The Garden”, “Sing For You” and “The Promise”.
Watch the video for “Nights Like These” here: